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Marketing Your Small Business Through Twitter

As the second largest social media platform, Twitter has made it’s mark housing over 200 million members tweeting 400 million plus tweets every day.  While it may seem that Twitter is designed for the famous, the politically associated, or the most popular brands and labels, such is not necessarily the case.  Twitter has proven to be a valuable platform when used for interaction with the customer, giving small businesses with good management an edge on self-promotion and marketing.

What’s in a Tweet?

Think of a tweet as a door.  While tweets themselves can only contain 140 characters or less, some of those 140 characters can be made up of a link to a blog post, a related photo, or a pertinent YouTube video, thereby making the tweet much more than 140 words worth of information.  A tweet is a portal through which your followers can learn a lot more about your specialty or business.  People love to interact.  That’s what social media is all about: sharing with one another and responding to what others share.  Like other social media platforms, Twitter allows you to follow others and share their information through “retweets”.  This encourages promotion across the board, multiplying exponentially the audience of each tweet through your follower’s retweets.

Keep it Relevant

While Ashton Kutcher may be able to post about what he had for breakfast on any given day, if you’re using Twitter for your business, you’re better off steering clear of uninformative tweets.  If you’re utilizing Twitter for more than just an entertaining way to pass the time, creating a reputation for your account is beneficial.  Rather than trying to cover every topic that is trending on Twitter (or other social media platforms), try and market yourself as a specialist of a particular subject.  People with diverse interests don’t necessarily want to follow a whole bunch of people who also have diverse interests.  They’ll want to find Twitter users that are passionate about one subject and specialize in it.  This will label you as the expert on your particular topic to all your followers.  That way, should they ever have a question or want perspective on an issue relevant to your business, they’ll look to you and the articles, videos, or photos you tweet.

How Twitter Stands Apart

Unlike other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter’s feed isn’t filtered.  This means that everyone who follows you will see everything you tweet.  This makes it a great tool for marketing and sharing about your business with your followers, because you can count on a larger audience reading your tweet.  Twitter also utilizes hashtags.  These are a way of categorizing your tweets through tagging keys words in the form of hashtags (e.g. #socialmedia).  These hashtags allow other Twitter members to search for keywords within Twitter and find your post.  Rather than being focused on personal relationships like Facebook’s “friends”, Twitter’s network of followers allows you to expand your circle and find people with similar interests rather than interacting with only people that you actually know.  In the case of marketing your business, it allows you to find people who might be within your targeted demographic, thereby making it easier to seek out your desired clientele.

Beware Who You Follow

Be sure you don’t get too enthusiastic and begin what Twitter calls “aggressive following” other members.  Since Twitter has controls on your ratio of followers to following, while you can have as many followers as you want, you can only follow up to 2000 people without having a proportionately even number of followers.  So make sure that you grow your account thoughtfully.  Follow people that are in your similar line of business or will post material that would be mutually interesting to your demographic of follower.  While you may think at first that doing so feels like supporting the competition, remember that “retweets” are a great way to network within Twitter and so following someone that shares information that would be pertinent to your business, is actually mutually beneficial.

Become Your Followers’ Friend

Of course this isn’t suggesting that you find your followers on Facebook and add them as friends immediately, however, engaging with your followers is one of the surest ways to keep them interested and following your account.  With every aspect of social media becoming a more common part of every day life, over 76% of Twitter users are considered “active”, meaning they tweet on a regular basis and engage with other members.  Many companies utilize Twitter to deal with customer concerns or complaints.  The airline JetBlue (@jetblue) realized that a huge majority of their passengers were tweeting about their in flight experiences (the good, the bad, and the ugly).  So they did what any smart business would do: they responded.  Holding the current record for the fastest response time, @jetblue responds to unsatisfied passengers within 13 minutes.  This has earned them over 1.7 million followers and an overall response rate of 79% (an impressively high percentage given their size).  With consistency like that, it’s no wonder that their social media campaign has greatly improved their reputation among airlines.  No matter what your line of business, however, similar practices can greatly affect the reputation of your company.  Recent studies show that over 81% of people receive suggestions and referrals through social media that greatly affect their online purchasing.  So be sure to put in the time and earn the reputation of a concerned business owner who takes the time to respond to followers whether they present a question, comment, or complaint.

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